November 1 marks the start of the fifth National Novel Writing Month, the annual event wherein ordinary but ambitious, even courageous people undertake to write brand new novels of their very own. We encourage you to participate: Find out more and register here.
Yvonne Chism-Peace, a contributor to Inkburns, has received a 2003 Leeway Foundation Award for Short Fiction. You can find most of her short stories on the Internet. We are delighted for her.
Call for Women's Stories of Race
Race and Childhood Anthology
Seal Press, Fall 2004
How old were you when you became conscious of the color of your skin? What was the first racial epithet you ever heard? Was your house vandalized because you were the only different kid in school? Were you ever made fun on in the girls' bathroom because your name wasn't easy to pronounce? When did you first witness racism: a Swastika spray-painted on your third grade classroom; your Sikh classmate being called a "girl" because of his long hair; your parents talking, over the dinner table, about "those people in your neighborhood"? What were those childhood experiences that hurt you or made you think or made you reevaluate your history, the history of your community, the history of your country?
From the compassionate to the terrifying to the amusing, childhood experiences of race are formative and lasting. Unfortunately, these experiences are not talked about because of pain, fear, embarrassment, the intense pressure to fit in, or the inability to discuss race/racism without being "politically correct." In addition, women, who are navigating through childhood and adolescence and dealing with other issues like body image, growing sexuality, cliques and popularity, often skirt and compartmentalize issues of race.
Do you want a space to tell your own stories? Do you want to read about the experiences of other women and realize you are not the only one? Then consider contributing to this thought-provoking women's anthology that delves deep into race/racism, through the lens of childhood, in America. I am looking for honest essays by women that discuss how the concept of "other" or the concept of being "other" has defined their childhood, both positively and negatively.
The tone of this book does not aim to be bitter, but engaging and moving. I would like to put the diversity of race/racism in America (rural, urban, black, Asian, Latina, white, multiracial, women who immigrated in their childhoods, women who were born here) under a microscope.
I am looking for good storytelling—what I want to capture are stories of growing up and stories that aren't often told. I am looking for style as well as substance—there is an infinite number of ways the writer can explore the personal essay. Push the parameters of the genre; be unique and daring. I'm looking for a strong narrative—something learned, something gained, something seen more clearly.
Hardly an exhaustive list, here are some words to play around with and get you thinking:
- Double lives (i.e. one life in school/one life at home)
- Reflections of parental prejudice
- Consciousness of race
- Perceptions of other races
- Perceptions of one's own race
- Race on the playground
- Loss of innocence
Writers may contribute creative nonfiction, personal essays and memoirs. Women of every race (white, black, Asian, Latina, mixed-race), class, sexuality, background, and generation are encouraged to tell their stories! Previously published pieces OK. Simultaneous submissions OK. (Just make it clear in email or cover letter).
Deadline: December 15, 2003, for Fall 2004 publication
Length: 1,500 to 6,000 words, negotiable
Fee: $100, on publication, plus two copies of the book
Send completed manuscript in .rtf or .doc format to Pooja Makhijani, c/o firstname.lastname@example.org, along with a cover letter/bio/resume. If you must submit a hard copy, please send to Pooja Makhijani c/o Leslie Miller at Seal Press, 300 Queen Anne Ave. N., #375, Seattle, WA, 98109.
About Pooja Makhijani: I am a writer living in New Jersey. My bylines have appeared in The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Newark Star-Ledger, The Indian Express, Time Out New York, NY ARTS Magazine, and India Today. This fall my essays will appear in Cicada (Cricket Group, November-December 2003) and in Women Who Eat: A New Generation on the Glory of Food (Seal Press, November 2003).
The Radio of the Future
Whoever said that Germans have no sense of humor must not have known of the World Championships of Lawnmower Racing. Please visit this link to learn more: The Most German Day Ever.
Make a point to watch the Flash presentation—there are conflicting opinions as to whether you should watch it before listening to the audio alone, but I leave it to you to make that decision for yourself—and to view the captioned photo gallery from the event.